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Saquon Barkley Favored to Out-Rush Fellow OROY Candidate Phillip Lindsay in 2018

Phillip Lindsay Broncos RB
Broncos' running back Phillip Lindsay went undrafted, yet is only 17 rushing yards behind second overall pick Saquon Barkley. (Photo by Hector Acevedo/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
  • Saquon Barkley is favored to beat out fellow rookie Phillip Lindsay in rushing yards for the 2018 regular season
  • Will Barkley, the favorite for OROY hold onto his slim lead?
  • Or will the undrafted Lindsay pull ahead over the final month?

Rookie rushing leaders Saquon Barkley and Phillip Lindsay have not only impressed as rookies, but have rocketed up the league-wide rushing charts.

The two are third and fourth in total rushing yards, respectively, and both are seeing short Offensive Rookie of the Year odds.

Odds To Have More Rushing Yards In 2018

Player Odds at Bovada
Saquon Barkley -135
Phillip Lindsay -105

Barkley Leads All Rookie Rushers

The second-overall pick in this year’s draft, Barkley has been one of the lone bright spots on a Giants team which has struggled most of the season.

Barkley is third overall in rushing yards league-wide behind only Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott. However, Barkley holds a superior YPC (4.9) to both.

The Giants have made a late resurgence with wins in three of their past four games and much of that can be attributed to their reliance on Barkley.

In their three wins, Barkley ran the ball at least 20 times. In their one loss, he was handed the ball only 13. He’s also eclipsed the 100-yard mark in each of the past three games.

Barkley is nearing 2,000 yards from scrimmage. That total has only ever been reached by two rookies in NFL history.

Barkley has been everything the Giants hoped for this season and more, as he closes in on elite company. With 1,556 yards from scrimmage, he’s nearing the 2,000 yards mark.

That total has only ever been reached by two rookies in NFL history: Eric Dickerson (2,212) and Edgerrin James (2,139).

Lindsay Nears Record Of His Own

As an undrafted rookie, Lindsay is proving to be the “steal of the draft”. With 937 rushing yards, he’s only 17 yards behind Barkley, the fourth-most rushing yards in the NFL.

With four games remaining, Lindsay is well on pace to break the record for most rushing yards ever for an undrafted rookie. Dominic Rhodes currently holds the record with 1,104.

Lindsay is fresh off two 100+ yard days of his own on the ground. Last week he tore up the Bengals’ defense to the tune of 157 yards and two TDs.

Which Rookie Finishes On Top?

A quick comparison of the two backs shows very little difference over the past few weeks. A look at upcoming opponents though would give the edge to Lindsay.

The Broncos face rushing defenses with an average rating in YPG of just over 21st. This includes the 28th and 31st-ranked run defenses of the Browns and Raiders.

Barkley vs Lindsay Season Stats


954 2018 Rush Yards 937
473 Rush Yards Last 5 Games 501
368 Rush Yards Last 3 Games 346
11 Avg Remaining Opp Run Defense Rank 21

Barkley will face a tougher challenge, facing rushing defenses with an average rating of 11th. That includes two top-ten units in the Redskins and Cowboys.

Another wrinkle to throw into this is that Broncos’ top WR Emmanuel Sanders was lost for the season today after tearing his Achilles during practice.

With the passing game taking a hit, the Broncos may be more inclined to focus on the ground game and Lindsay.

Add in that Barkley also sees plenty of use in the pass game, plus the better price on Lindsay and the Broncos back looks to be the best bet.

Bet: Phillip Lindsay -105

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Ryan is SBD's resident soccer pro, though his repertoire is by no means limited to a single sport. His articles have been published by the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Kitchener Rangers, and outlets like SportsXpress and Shredthespread.com